Advice for students with families


If you have a spouse or partner and dependant children, you may want them to join you in the UK. You should carefully consider the practical arrangements you'll need to make so your family will have a fulfilling and productive stay in the UK.



You will need adequate accommodation for your family to be comfortable.

Childcare and schooling


You may need help in caring for your children, especially if both parents are studying. Many families in the UK use professional childcare services and there is a wide range of provision. If your children are of school age, they will usually be able to study at a local school in Stirling but you should consider how this will fit in to their longer term education.

Your partner/spouse may have to take a career break to join you in the UK


Coming to the UK may present new opportunities for your partner or spouse (for example for studies that fit in with the length of your visa).

You and your family will have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of living in the UK versus remaining apart for a period. Some students find it easier to concentrate on their studies if they know their family are safe and happy in their home country (and they can visit during vacations) but other students find it very upsetting to be separated from their family for several weeks. Reaching the correct decision will be a matter for you and your spouse/partner and it is important that you consider this very carefully.


Visas for international families


Changes to UK immigration mean that only a limited group of postgraduate and government sponsored students are able to bring their dependants with them to the UK. You will be able to apply for Dependant visas for your family if:

  • You are a postgraduate student on a programme of study lasting 12 months or more; or
  • You are sponsored by your government or the UK government and you will be studying on a programme lasting more than six months

You can check details of these provisions here.

Family Support


If your partner accompanies you here for the whole, or part, of your studies, s/he may initially feel isolated and wish to meet others in a similar situation. Student Development and Support Services and the International Office are happy to assist all families of the University community and will help wives, husbands and children of students settle into their new life at Stirling.

Staff can offer help and advice on many things including English classes, nurseries, schooling and health care entitlement, and will continue to support your family during your study in Stirling.

Schools in the Stirling area


All children of five years and older are entitled to free schooling and the local schools are accustomed to welcoming international pupils. Local Authority schools near the University campus are provided by Stirling Council.

Children normally attend their “catchment” school – the local school. Children staying on the University campus usually go to Bridge of Allan Primary School and to Wallace High School. Parents should contact the schools direct to enrol their child.

As part of this process, Stirling Council checks your address details. You will need evidence of your address, for example your rental agreement, gas or electricity bills and also a letter confirming your attendance at the University. You will also need to provide your children’s birth certificates.

Students resident off campus should contact Children’s Services on Tel: 0845 277 7000 to confirm their local catchment school or go to: and click on ‘Education and Learning’.

Parents have the choice to send their child to a school other than the catchment school. It is advisable to contact Children’s Services as soon as possible if you want to request a place in another Stirling school. General enquiries on school admissions can be made by telephoning 01786 442648 or by email:

Full details on Stirling Council Schools, including contact telephone numbers and school brochures, are on the council website:

Baby and Toddler Group


For mothers of younger children, a parent and baby group meets once a week in Bridge of Allan. This is a useful way to meet others in similar positions and meet with the local health visitor. Please contact the medical centre on campus:

Note for single parents and those whose partner isn't accompanying their children to the UK


If you are a single parent and you are planning for your child/children to join you in the UK, you will need to provide evidence that
you have sole responsibility for them when they apply for their visas. This could be a custody order from a court or other legal documents confirming that you are the parent who has responsibility for looking after the children.

If you are still married or in a partnership with the other parent of your children, UKVI will expect that parent to also join you in the UK as a dependant and may refuse a visa for the children if this is not the case.

If you would like more information about this issue please contact the Student Immigration Team.

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